Not the End of the Line for RV1

The RV1 bus, London’s only hydrogen fueled zero-emission service, has been scrapped by the Mayor of London and Transport for London.

Liberal Democrats have led the campaign to protect the service from the very start. They argue that the area it covers is one of the fastest-growing areas in London, as well as having some of the worst air pollution. Commuters often choose to use the bus because it is considerably cheaper than other forms of transport. Cutting this a zero-emission bus service is a short-sighted step against creating a connected, greener, low-cost London.

Passenger numbers have fluctuated over the last couple of years, but the Liberal Democrats point out that the route and frequency of the RV1 has been severely disrupted and reduced in that time. They have also argued that, as the service reaches some of the capital’s main tourist destinations along the river, there is huge potential to market the RV1 to tourists which TfL have failed to take up.

Caroline Pidgeon, the Liberal Democrat member of the London Assembly has repeatedly raised the issue with the Mayor of London, including asking him at Mayor Question Time what measures he has taken to market the RV1, including developing a dedicated App for the route to promote it as a cheap and attractive way to visit key London attractions.

Victor Chamberlain, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Borough & Bankside has led the campaign to save the RV1 ever since plans to cut it were announced. He has written to the Mayor of London to request a rethink on scrapping the service. Cllr Chamberlain has asked to work with the Mayor to explore the potential of community, cultural and commercial sponsorship of the service which alongside better promotion to tourists, could Save the RV1.

He said: “Local residents in Southwark were bitterly disappointed by the Mayor’s decision to scrap the RV1. It’s a vital local service which thousands of local people rely upon and other services do not connect our borough nearly as well. The RV1 also connects some of London’s greatest cultural attractions and is a unique link for the thousands of tourists who visit Southwark every year. There’s real potential to get extra sponsorship which would enable us to save the RV1.

I’ve written to the Mayor to ask him to look at the big picture instead of just short-term numbers on a spreadsheet. Let’s take advantage of the role the RV1 plays in delivering a green, open and affordable London. Scrapping the RV1 undermines all the Mayor’s goals in one go, which is why I’m still hoping he will rethink this poor decision.”


13th of June, 2019